Compare nitrofurantoin vs. Bactrim

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Treats and prevents urinary tract infections.

Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) treats uncomplicated urinary tract infections, but does not work well for older people or those with kidney problems.

Kills bacteria.

Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) is good for treating many bacterial infections and is available as a generic. However, you can be more likely to sunburn.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 473 reviewsforBactrim
  • Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) works well to treat most urinary tract infections.
  • Young and otherwise healthy females have the best results when taking Macrobid (nitrofurantoin).
  • It can be used in pregnant women if approved by the doctor.
  • Comes in a liquid form that can be used by children.
  • Widely available as a generic product and in a variety of formulations (tablet, capsule, suspension).
  • Works well to treat many types of bacterial infections
  • Does not work well for complicated urinary tract infections, older people, or those with kidney problems.
  • Can damage your lungs, liver, kidneys, and nerves if taken for a long period of time.
  • Makes you sensitive to the sun.
  • Can upset your stomach
  • Drink plenty of water or fluids to avoid harming your kidneys
  • May cause birth defects
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
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473 reviews so far
saidit'sworth it
saiditworked well
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Lung damage
    • Using Macrobid (nitrofurantoin) for 6 months or longer
    • Age 65 or older
  • Liver damage
    • History of liver disease
    • Age 65 or older
  • Nerve damage
    • Lower kidney function
    • Low red blood cell count
    • Low vitamin B levels
    • People with diabetes
  • Breakdown of red blood cells
    • People with G6PD deficiency
  • Diarrhea
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Diarrhea
  • Sunburn
  • Rash
  • Harm to fetus
  • Lower kidney function
    • Elderly
    • Taking other medicines that lower kidney function
See more detailed risks and warnings